My gym closed recently for nearly 3 weeks for "vital maintenance"! The one that I visit at least 5 times a week for my weight lifting, circuit training, Boxercise, PiYo, kettlebell classes, even the swimming pool was closed. I was convinced I'd get lazy and fat without my routine - it was either a chance to take a break or a chance to mix up my training! I struggle to motivate myself at home, and end up distracted - "I'll just do this load of washing... walk the dog... catch up on 3 hours of Emmerdale..." My best advice is to choose something you look forward to and workout first thing in the morning, before you've had a chance to think about anything else or find an excuse to skip it! Here are some ideas of what you can do to stay active when your usual options are unavailable...
1. Get outdoors
Run, walk, cycle, hike, climb a mountain... The world is your oyster! It's free and you get to be "at one" with nature, soaking up the fresh air and any vitamin D that October has left to offer. Be adventurous. Bonus points for scenic instagram snaps.
2. Check out other facilities
Look into short term memberships at other gyms, discover new classes or even try your usual class with a different trainer! You'll be supporting local businesses and might even fall in love with something new. Maybe there's something you've always fancied but not been able to fit in with other commitments? Personally I couldn't afford to fork out a membership fee but I managed to try out my friend's new Kettlebell class, which was only a half hour long and a completely different style to my usual one. It was also the perfect opportunity to check out Macbi - a fairly new centre in a nearby village that I've been meaning to visit since it opened! They offer a huge variety of classes, membership free, from yoga to insanity to boogie bounce. I managed to get my usual kettlebell fix as my trainer was covering a class there, and finally experienced my first spin class tonight.
3. Use your home
I'm lucky that Gordon has a small collection of weights in the garage. I moved them inside (it's cold out there!) and made myself a mini gym in my living room. It's only a bar bell and a set of dumbbells but it's all I need. The weight can be varied and there's a whole load of exercises I can do with them to target different parts of my body. Over the years I've accumulated a collection of kettlebells so they came in handy, along with my yoga mat, some cheap ankle weights, an ab roller (from Lidl of all places) and a Swiss ball I borrowed from my Mum!
Not everyone can afford to kit out their home with lots of weight equipment or cardio machines though, and you don't even need them anyway. I've been warming up by sprinting up and down my stairs! If you don't have stairs then simple bodyweight moves are just as good - burpees, high knees, jumping jacks, plyo lunges, sprinting on the spot... anything that gets your heart rate going! Steps are also handy for Bulgarian split squats, box jumps or you can hold a squat against a plain old wall or whack out a few tricep dips on a chair. There's so many exercises that don't need any equipment at all - push ups are a no brainer and planks, crunches and flutter kicks are all good core moves.
4. Try a DVD workout
Insanity and PiYo are 2 classes held at my local centre that you can do in the comfort of your own home. T25 is handy if you're short of time, KettleWorx has some short but effective workouts and I've heard good things about Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. If you don't want to splash out on the discs yourself, ask around and see if anyone has something you can borrow or even have a look on YouTube! I've seen people get some great results from DVD workouts, especially the Beachbody series. Take some before and after pics to prove to the world (and yourself) what you can achieve in your own living room.
5. Be creative
I took the opportunity to practice some things I've been meaning to master but am too self conscious to try and fail in front of people in the gym. I'm working on my head stand skills and have perfected my plyo push ups! I've been doing them for a while but didn't realise how far down my head was when I do a push up - something I've now corrected. Filming your workouts is a handy way of checking your form and something that I wouldn't be brave enough to do in front of people. My gym only has one tiny mirror that you practically have to fight for so it's not always possible to see how well you're performing every exercise.
There you have it; 5 different, inexpensive ways of working out when you can't get to the gym. Most importantly, stay active, stay motivated, stay strong and have fun!